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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

3 August 2008, Continuous Cruising: Stone to Milton

Well that is how it felt!

We slipped our mooring just before Meaford Bottom Lock on the Trent and Mersey at 0630h after being kept awake by a local celebration barbeque and fireworks show that commenced at 0030h.

The morning was glorious and the wild life seemed to respond. Kingfishers were darting to and fro from bridge 100 to 102 and buzzards and hawks wheeled overhead at intervals. We stopped for breakfast at Trentham lock and almost regretted it as a hire boater discovered that he was unable to steer in reverse. He missed our boat but seemed to think that he had hit it! Here are a few pictures of Sonflower at Trenham Lock.

Onward toward Etruria Junction. There were queues at every lock and the locks seemed to fill slowly. Having an average ten foot rise may have had something to do with it! We turned into the Caldon Canal and stopped for water.

Then we moored and headed for a pub, hoping to get some lunch. Neither the Bird in Hand or the Shoulder of Mutton served food. Both pubs looked as though they needed to do more than add a coat of paint to get them into the 21st century bit a coat of paint would help. Probably the mist complementary I could be is "dives". We returned tothe boat with an ice cream bought from a 24/7 store and decided to move on, hoping for dinner later.

Ascending the staircase locks 1 and 2 was interesting but uneventful. It is very nerve wracking sitting below a 20 foot high gate with water behind it.
All went well and the Best Mate found a couple of local ladies to chat to in the lockside.

Then on to the Caldon Canal with its low headroom bridges and amazing views. The whole scene seemed to change at Bridge 6 when a panoramic vista across the valley opens up in front of one. The canal is under a restoration and improvement programme and much of the towpath is being improved. Here is a length before Ivy House Lift Bridge.

Having safely bridge we cruised on. Just before Milton I spotted a grass snake swimming in the cut. We started to think of an overnight mooring and just the spot presented itself at The Foxley Inn, advertising overnight mooring, restaurant, children welcome. Except that they do not do food, children are not welcome in the bar and the mooring is a little too shallow for us to moor alongside the bank. We moored anyway and asked where we could eat. We were directed to a new pub called The Horn and Trumpet. A ten minute walk but we enjoyed the meal. We returned to the Foxeley for Karaoke night and Feyernoord v Celtic on the TV! The Best Mate sang, the Lock Labourer watched to fill a void in his routine. I just had a couple of pints.

We now need to stay overnight because we have an empty gas bottle and near the pub is a caravan centre that can fill that need.

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